ASX-listed coal miner Bathurst Resources Ltd (ASX: BRL) has more than quadrupled both its New Zealand coal output and also job numbers, and booked an underlying profit of $43.4 million.
Bathurst's rising fortunes are down to the joint-venture BT Mining, between itself and Talley's Fisheries, buying the former Solid Energy mines of Stockton, and the Rotowaro and Maramarua mines in the Waikato.
Bathurst chairman Toko Kapea said at the company's annual general meeting on Wednesday that through the three new BT Mining joint venture operations Bathurst was now the country's leading coal producer.
“This saw the number of employees and coal production that we manage more than quadruple from a year ago,” he said.
Coal sales for the year went 73% to steelmaking, 20% food production and other industries and 7% toward electricity generation. About 1.5 million tonnes of coal was produced, with 1 Mt exported from Stockton on the West Coast, 800,000 tonnes in the North Island was used domestically and 400,000t were similarly produced in the South Island.
For its year to June, consolidated Bathurst and 65% BT Mining figures, saw sales revenue rise from $42 M last year to $237 M. Earnings before interest and tax, depreciation and amortisation rose from $10 M to $94 M and booked an underlying profit of $43.4 M; up from $1.1 M a year ago.
Bathurst's cash balance eased back by $4 M to $25.2 M, while its net assets increased to $64.2 M.
Employee numbers from the previous financial year rose from 95 to 431 while coal production rose from 400,000t to 1.5 Mt; which is expected to rise to 1.6 Mt next financial year.
During the year Bathurst spent $221.6 M with local suppliers, paid $39.4 M in taxes and royalties and a further $40.5 M to employees.
Because of a pending court appeal - expected to begin in March next year - Bathurst will not pay a dividend this year, the cash being held in reserve in case a claim against it in the courts for $US40 M ($NZ60.4 M) is successful.
Bathurst is appealing an “adverse judgement” from the High Court which would require it to pay the $US40 M to L&M Coal Holdings Ltd, which sold Bathurst its coal mining permits in the Buller region in 2010.
*Simon Hartley is senior business reporter and assistant chief reporter for the Otago Daily Times.